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Romans 10

October 23rd, 2011 by Vic

Romans 10

October 23, 2011

“Man’s Responsibility”


Paul is writing this letter to some friends he has not met yet in the church in Rome.  In the first chapter he said that the gospel that he preached is that same good news that was predicted by the OT prophets.  The gospel he preaches is the power of God.  The believer of this gospel lives by faith and knows God’s love.  The one who does not believe knows God’s wrath.  He will self-destruct.


All have sinned and come short of the glory that God planned for them.  There is none righteous.  No not one.  Except for God’s mercy and grace we all deserve punishment for our sins.  But God has provided a cure for our sins.  His plan was Jesus.  By faith in Jesus we can be right with God.  Just as Abram had faith in God’s plan 4,000 years ago, our faith in God assures us of eternal life.


In another way Paul says we can be justified by faith and God’s grace will forgive all our sin.  In fact we can be totally dead to sin and alive in Christ.  Christians do not have to be frustrated by doing what they do not want to do or not doing what they know they should do.  If Christians try to live a holy life on their own they will know frustration.  But thanks be to God who can set us free from the law of man’s expectations so there is now no more condemnation or frustration for those who live in Christ Jesus, whose minds are set on spiritual things and whose hearts have a desire to please God.


Paul asks, “If Christians don’t act like Christians, is that God’s fault?  Is there something wrong with God’s plan?”  No.  God loves all men with an intense love and does not want them to self-destruct.

God’s plan has always been for us to trust Him, live by faith, and enjoy abundant life.  God’s plan always will be by faith.  Obedience to God does not mean external obedience like circumcision, giving to the poor or church attendance.  Obedience is a loving heart that responds to His great love.


Chapter 9 finished with 2 major themes: (faith and disobedience)

1. Righteousness comes by faith and continues from faith to faith.  Righteousness requires a personal relationship.  Righteousness is not achieved by following a set of rules.

2. The Jews stumbled.  The very people that should have accepted God’s offer of salvation rejected God’s offer and tried to replace it with their own.


The Jews stumbled over the cornerstone, Jesus.  Two weeks ago after church Mike, Ryan and I were talking about the Jews failure to recognize Jesus.  Mike compared it to us looking for lost keys or a lost pencil or a lost tool.


I remember one time I went to the Auckland airport in NZ and was waiting for Nancy to get off the plane.  She walked right by me and I did not see her.  She did not look like I expected.  Jesus walked right by the Jews and they did not see Him. The Jews wouldn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God nor that God raised Him from the dead.


In another way it is like the crib I made for my grandson.  I cut the cherry trees.  I had a portable mill come in and cut up the lumber.  I planed the wood to the right thickness, cut and sanded each piece.  I built that crib with a lot of love.  Did Jack know all of that?  He slept in the crib.  He benefitted from my love and hard work.  Did he understand?


What about your mom’s love?  How old were you before you realized how much your mom loved you?  In some ways it is like God’s love.


Jesus is still the stumbling block from many today.  Many refuse to really look and consider Jesus, even though they know about God and know the truth; they choose not to live as Christ commanded.


In NZ they traditionally make hot cross buns for Easter and the Christian parents explain the Easter story to their children.  While we were in NZ a teacher was not allowed to explain the meaning of hot cross buns and the Christian Easter story.


Peter Bourke, a newspaper reporter,  told me there was an organized effort in NZ to get all traces of Christianity out of schools.  They were willing to honor Maori culture, but only if it was done without Christianity.  They can teach about NZ culture, but not Christianity.  Does that sound familiar?  We try to build a democratic society that will please God, but leave God out.


Read the last words of Moses in Deuteronomy 6:10-12; 8:10-14


10:1-4  Why didn’t the Jews find the righteousness they were looking for?


1.  They were looking for a righteousness that matched the mental picture they had created.  Righteousness for them was contingent on their obedience to the law of God rather than their relationship with the God of the law.  The Jews had the Scriptures.  The information was readily available.  They were informed and ignorant.  They knew about God, but not the knowledge of God that comes through a loving relationship.


2. Their zeal displayed a desire to look good.  Rather than following the path that the law was pointing to, they created their own path and did not find Jesus.  They are deeply sincere, but sincerely wrong.  It really does matter what one believes about God and His ways.


Many churches say the way to please God is to attend church, pay your tithe, and follow the rules.  But that is a dead end.  We can’t make God happy by attending seminars, giving 90% of our income, praying 12 hours a day, or being baptized in 3 different churches.  We please God when we honor Him, give thanks and dispense His grace.


3.  They wanted to create their own (idios) theology and definition of God.  They had a hunger for righteousness but could not find it in their reading and teaching.  They knew the law, the prophets and all the stories, but did not see the person God was pointing to.


They were blind to revealed truth.  They thought God’s story was all about them.  They failed to see that God’s covenant was never intended to be just for the Jews.  God always had the Gentiles in view.  The Jews failed to understand that the righteousness of God was for all peoples.  God’s righteousness is not from the law but from faith to faith as Abraham demonstrated.


Prior to Christ there was some ground for misunderstanding that the law was related to works.  But now God’s plan is clearer.  Righteousness is not a special prerogative of the Jews, but is for everyone who believes.  God’s plan from the beginning is that all might be saved from the wrath to come.


10:5-13  What can I do to be saved?  Do I have to go to heaven?  Do I have to die?


Moses said you can be righteous if you keep the law perfectly.  But no one has ever done that.  Human imperfection can’t satisfy divine perfection.  God sent Jesus to give us a heart transplant and a Spirit to empower us to obey.


The simple message of Christianity is that Jesus did all the doing that needs to be done.  Jesus was the perfect Lamb of God.  He built this beautiful crib for us to live in.  He has provided everything we need for life and godliness.  The only work you can do is to believe and receive the gift of His love.  It was not our effort that brought Jesus into the world nor did we give life to Him in the grave (7).


God has made salvation available to everyone by faith in Him.


Verse 9 may be part of an early Christian creed.  Confess that, “Jesus is Lord.”  This word ‘lord’ had several meanings, from a simple title, Sir, to a Roman emperor’s title, to a god, to the God of Creation.  To confess someone as “lord’ denotes a subservient attitude and a sense of belonging to the one named.


To call Jesus The Lord was to recognize that He was unique and that He had a supreme place of authority in my heart.  To call Him Lord is to call Him God.  Jesus is on the throne today.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords today.  His kingdom is in the hearts of everyone who believes.  Notice that Paul makes this a heart thing.  But the mouth makes it an external expression.  Inward belief and outward expression are linked.


In verse 9 the present tense is used for belief and confession.  The past tense is used for Christ’s resurrection and the future tense for our salvation.


Paul quotes (11) Isaiah and says that anyone (all) who make Jesus Lord of their life cannot be put to shame.  There is no difference between Jew and Gentile.


For the Jew the greatest shame was to be led away captive with no clothes on.  In Christ no power can conquer you.  In Christ we have dignity, honor, value, and riches.  We are not blind and naked.


The Jews misunderstood the faith part in the covenant promise of God (12-13).   Abraham had faith in God’s promise.  We have faith in God’s new Covenant of love.  If God is one, He has always been the God of all.  If Jesus is Lord, He is Lord of all.


This is why Paul was praying for the Jews.  To reject Jesus as the Christ is to reject God’s gift of love.  To reject the word of faith is to reject the Scriptures they read daily in the Synagogue.


10:14-21  You don’t have any excuses for not knowing God.


Paul has been saying that the way to God is not through works; it has always been by faith.


An imaginary objector was asking, “Why didn’t the Jews understand this?  Maybe they never heard it explained this way before.  How can God judge the Jews for what they have not understood?”  Negligent ignorance is not excusable.  All men are responsible for what they can know.  We are all stewards of what we have been given.


Paul quotes Scripture (15) to answer their objections.  The mention of ‘feet’ implies travel.  In the Scripture we have praised those from other nations who brought us the good news message many times.  You can’t say there were no messengers.  It is in your Scripture.


Another objection is argued (16).  “They did not believe”.  Paul responds, “Isaiah predicted that too.”  History was only repeating itself.  Your professed ignorance is inexcusable.  The message was designed to produce faith, but you refused to believe.


The word of faith (17) was declared to the Jews through their law.  They needed to believe the promise of God.  The promised gift of God’s love was Jesus.  The law of faith was to be a law written in their hearts.  It was to be a new thing.  Jesus came to demonstrate and clarify that promise given through the prophets.


Did the Jews really get a chance to hear (18)?  Didn’t Jesus live in the country?  Yes and all the people went out to listen to Him.  Of course they heard just as their Scripture says.  For the last 20 years the gospel has been going to all the world except maybe the far west and Paul will express a desire to go there after he visits Rome.


“Maybe God’s plan was too difficult for the Jews to understand (19).”  Paul responds, It was not too difficult for the Gentiles.  The Jews didn’t really want to understand?  Others did.  Jews just ignored their own Scripture.  Those you called a ‘no-nation’ people and senseless have responded to God’s love in Christ.  God always had a plan to offer salvation to all nations.


10:20  Those who were not looking for the Christ found Him.


10:21  How about you?  You have no excuse.  If you would turn around you would see that God has His arms outstretched to you.  He loves you.  He has created this beautiful world/crib for you to live in.  He wants to give you freedom in the sphere of His kingdom.  Have you really considered how much God loves you?  Have you thought about God’s plan for your life?  Have you thought about the gifts that God has given you?  Have you considered how stupid it is to ignore your Creator?  Have you considered how dangerous it is to reject a gift given to you by the Creator of all.


Are you being disobedient, obstinate, and contrary?  What’s your excuse?

Are you ignorant of Christ because you haven’t taken the time to think about Him?

Have you turned a blind eye to the things God is trying to tell you?


In chapter 9 we heard Paul teach on the sovereignty of God.  There is nothing you can do to earn God’s favor.  He already loves you.


Now this chapter says you must respond to that love.  Man has a responsibility.  You can reject it or ignore it like most of the Jews or you can respond to it and believe that God really loves you.


Not all will become Christian, because God manipulates no one.  Some reject outside authority and God lets them self-destruct.  You must choose to respond to the love of God to enjoy abundant life.


God does not try to argue with your head.  It is a faith thing.  You will never have enough evidence to believe in God just as you can never have enough evidence to believe in any other person.  You must choose to trust.  The Bible says, confess with your mouth and believe in your heart and enjoy the loving arms of God.


Why would you ignore the Way, the Truth and the Life?  Choose to believe there is Someone who loves you more than you will ever understand.  Look at your crib.  Consider the Creator.


God so loved the world…  John 3:16-21


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